“The Watchers”: Bear Witness to Domkraft’s Hallucinatory Sludge Made Real
Remember live shows? Those were pretty great, while they lasted -- here in the States, it seems like it might take a while for them to get up and running again. In the meantime, we can reflect back on some of the shows that shaped our perception of heavy music, left a mark (occasionally physically), and that are worth remembering and reliving.
For a lucky few, last November's "Day of Doom," a showcase put on by Magnetic Eye Records at New York's vaunted Saint Vitus Bar, probably qualifies: nine stoner doom heavyweights, one moderate-sized bar, and riffs so thick and tangible that they may have gained corporeal form, perhaps walking among us to this day. Now, just about a year later, we're seeing recordings from the event's headliners come to light in the form of a set of live albums, including Elephant Tree, Summoner, Horsehunter, and Swedish sludgy psychonauts Domkraft. Check out "The Watchers" now as a sneak peek of Domkraft's Day of Doom Live.
It's somewhat bittersweet to think about what could have been in an alternate timeline, but the crushing fuzz and live energy on display should wash those thoughts away soon enough. The song is a fun one, with a winding, Escher-esque pattern to its main riff, but the unhinged nature of the performance and the absolutely bonkers live guitar tone takes the core aspects of "The Watchers" to another level.
As singer/bassist Martin Wegeland theorizes, the crowd might have something to do with it:
This is one of those songs that always tends to get rowdier in a live setting than the recorded version. The bouncy main riff feels a lot nastier, almost like it feeds off the energy in the room without us having anything to do with it. It’s hard to explain, but there’s definitely something strange going on there.
This year, certainly, live albums are vital, but the Day of Doom Live series hits at what makes them great even in less dire times: an interesting event with well-selected talent and savvy fans builds a kind of energy that can't be replicated in a studio, no matter the budget. Properly translated to a recording, whether or not you were there to see it the first time, that energy can last forever.
Day of Doom Live releases December 11th via Magnetic Eye Records.